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OWC Mercury Elite Pro Qx2 with SoftRAID XT 5.8.3

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(@wisehaus)
Active Member Customer

Hi folks,

I have an older OWC Mercury Elite Pro Qx2 enclosure that I want to utilize. I am planning to populate the enclosure with 4x4TB drives in a RAID5 configuration. This enclosure supports RAID0, 1, 5, and 10 in hardware so by default I'll just place the drives and let it handle the RAID5 setup.

Evidently I also have the option to disable the hardware RAID behavior and form a RAID5 disk using SoftRAID. I have a licensed copy of SoftRAID XT 5.8.3.

So two questions:

1) Is there any reason the software option will not work for this enclosure?

2) Is there any significant advantage to using SoftRAID in this situation?

Thanks in advance for any advice or comments!

Quote
Topic starter Posted : 24/04/2020 1:13 am
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

This older enclosure was not totally solid with SoftRAID. I recommend you stick with the built in hardware RAID. Not as ideal, but better than running into issues.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 24/04/2020 10:00 am
(@wisehaus)
Active Member Customer

This older enclosure was not totally solid with SoftRAID. I recommend you stick with the built in hardware RAID. Not as ideal, but better than running into issues.

Excellent, thanks for the quick response!

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Topic starter Posted : 24/04/2020 10:42 am
(@wisehaus)
Active Member Customer

If I were to transfer the 4 RAID5 disks that are currently in the Mercury Elite Pro Qx2 into a newer Thunderbay enclosure, would SoftRaid recognize them as a RAID5 set?

And perhaps a related question. If I create a RAID5 array using SoftRAID and 4 brand new disks, but I then later move those disks into a different enclosure, will SoftRAID still recognize it as the original RAID5 array?

Thanks!

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Topic starter Posted : 24/04/2020 5:23 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

Yes and yes.

How the disks are connected is not important to SoftRAID. All data is stored on the disks, not in the System.

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Posted : 26/04/2020 3:16 am
(@wisehaus)
Active Member Customer

Yes and yes.

How the disks are connected is not important to SoftRAID. All data is stored on the disks, not in the System.

I must be missing something.

I have transferred the 4x2TB drives that were previously in the Mercury Elite Pro Qx2 to a new ThunderBay 8 enclosure. When I boot up the enclosure MacOS complains that none of the 4 drives is initialized, but all 4 drives do show up in the list of disks.

However, I don't see anyway to tell SoftRAID that the set of disks are a preexisting RAID5 array. I can select the 4 drives, but the only option not greyed-out under the Volumes menu in SoftRAID is the "New" option.

Is there a way to tell SoftRAID that the drives are an existing array?

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Topic starter Posted : 26/04/2020 12:51 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

If hte Qx2 is set up as hardware RAID, it will have a unique format, that OS X cannot read.

You need to put them back and back it up, then move it to the Thunderbay.

Sorry if I missed a subtilty on moving the drives, but hardware RAID means the disks have a proprietary format. We do not have any easy tools to convert them to SoftRAID.

But be very careful, a limitation of all hardware RAID units, is you need to put the disks in the exact same order, or you may destroy the partition maps on the disks. Be very careful here if you need the data.

let me know..

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Posted : 27/04/2020 12:36 am
(@wisehaus)
Active Member Customer

If hte Qx2 is set up as hardware RAID, it will have a unique format, that OS X cannot read.

You need to put them back and back it up, then move it to the Thunderbay.

Sorry if I missed a subtilty on moving the drives, but hardware RAID means the disks have a proprietary format. We do not have any easy tools to convert them to SoftRAID.

But be very careful, a limitation of all hardware RAID units, is you need to put the disks in the exact same order, or you may destroy the partition maps on the disks. Be very careful here if you need the data.

let me know..

So the saga continues....at least for a bit longer.

I placed the original 4 x 2TB drives into a second Mercury Elite Pro enclosure (in the same order) but the RAID array does not mount. The enclosure works with other drives just not these four. I suspect that there has been some disk corruption.

Before writing the whole thing off as a loss, I thought I would try some RAID recovery software. However, when I examine the individual disks in various disk repair and recovery programs (Disk Drill, etc.) they do not seem to be any recognizable partitions.

Could you tell me what the partitions for the individual disks in an old hardware RAID5 configuration from this enclosure *should* look like? Would the individual disks look like a normal, initialized disk to the MacOS?

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Topic starter Posted : 05/05/2020 1:13 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

I do not think it is possible to recover any data from a hardware RAID unless the disks are in the enclosure.

Do you still have the Qx2? If you put the disks back, in the same slots, what do you get?
That is the only way to try to recover data from it.

The disks will look like uninitialized disks to the OS, if they are not in the hardware RAID enclosure, as the disk headers are unreadable to the OS.

If you put the disks back, then you have a chance.

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Posted : 05/05/2020 1:55 pm
(@wisehaus)
Active Member Customer

I do not think it is possible to recover any data from a hardware RAID unless the disks are in the enclosure.

Do you still have the Qx2? If you put the disks back, in the same slots, what do you get?
That is the only way to try to recover data from it.

The disks will look like uninitialized disks to the OS, if they are not in the hardware RAID enclosure, as the disk headers are unreadable to the OS.

If you put the disks back, then you have a chance.

Thanks for the quick response!

I do still have the original enclosure. When I try to boot up the RAID in the original enclosure, I get the alarm sound indicating the array has failed.

I have a second Qx2 which is functioning fine with a second set of disk. I tried swapping those drives with the ones from the original enclosure, but it still fails to boot up.

I naively thought that the hardware in the two Qx2's was identical so I could verify that the problem was the disks and not the enclosure. Is there something unique about the way the hardware RAID in different enclosures stripes data over the disks?

If you can think of anything else I should try, I'd appreciate any advice.

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Topic starter Posted : 05/05/2020 2:13 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

If it is a different model, yes it is different. (You need the same product number there have been difference versions over the years.

Even when you get the "failure" alert, see if either the volume appears, or if it can be seen by SoftRAID or Disk Utility.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 05/05/2020 6:04 pm
(@wisehaus)
Active Member Customer

If it is a different model, yes it is different. (You need the same product number there have been difference versions over the years.

Even when you get the "failure" alert, see if either the volume appears, or if it can be seen by SoftRAID or Disk Utility.

I replaced the 4x2TB drives back in the original Qx2 enclosure. I can confirm that I still get the alarm sound and the array is not visible with Disk Utility (or other disk repair software).

I also tried removing each of the four drives in succession and booting with only three drives. I get the same result regardless of which drive I remove.

I gather it is looking a bit dire for the possibility of resurrection here. I appreciate the assistance so far in any case.

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Topic starter Posted : 06/05/2020 5:16 am
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

You are sure you are putting them in the correct order? that is critical. Some RAID controllers write data to the disks immediately, so you are screwed if you ever swap positions on drives.

BUt if you have it right, the volume name or at least the LUN (looking like a raw uninitialized disk) should show up. (Maybe the controller failed, if not)

How mission critical is the data?

ReplyQuote
Posted : 06/05/2020 11:36 am
(@wisehaus)
Active Member Customer

You are sure you are putting them in the correct order? that is critical. Some RAID controllers write data to the disks immediately, so you are screwed if you ever swap positions on drives.

BUt if you have it right, the volume name or at least the LUN (looking like a raw uninitialized disk) should show up. (Maybe the controller failed, if not)

How mission critical is the data?

I am reasonably sure I have not messed up the ordering. When I removed the drives the first time, I labeled each one Drive A, B, C, and D.

Unfortunately the disk does not seem to be visible to the computer even as an un-initialized drive. No sign of it at all, which is why I thought that perhaps the enclosure might be the problem. However, other than swapping in the drives from my other Qx2 enclosure, I could think of no way to isolate that possibility. Of course if the enclosures are potentially different as you suggest, then that test is not as definitive as I had hoped.

The data is not mission critical, so it's not worth sending the disks to a professional repair service for example. I'd simply like to recover the data if possible, plus I am a bit on the stubborn side. :)

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Topic starter Posted : 06/05/2020 12:36 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

post the model numbers of both Qx2 units. i can check if they have any differences

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Posted : 06/05/2020 1:26 pm
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